Press Release – The U.S. reiterates its commitment to support Mongolia’s Third Neighbor Policy
ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA, July 2, 2020 – AmCham Mongolia hosted U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia Michael Klecheski for its July Online Monthly Meeting. Over 30 attendees joined the meeting representing AmCham member companies, domestic and international businesses operating in Mongolia. Mr. Jay Liotta, Chairman of AmCham Mongolia, opened the meeting and congratulated Mongolia on the recent, democratically held elections. He proceeded to say that sharing rights to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religious beliefs and practices, and the right to peacefully assemble, bond our two countries together. When put into the geopolitical context, democracy in Mongolia is a fantastic story as the two authoritarian neighbors continuously try to re-order Eurasia in their image. It is in the U.S.’s best interest to support Mongolia’s independence and its people’s freedom and prosperity. AmCham and its members have been doing our part to grow and strengthen the ties between the two countries through our annual Doorknock to Washington DC, Trade missions throughout the U.S., the U.S. expo in Mongolia and our working groups and its advocacy efforts. Our political neutrality and our advocacy efforts for an independent, private sector-driven, free-market economy have become the hallmarks of our organization. Lastly, Chairman Liotta expressed his gratitude to Ambassador Klecheski and the U.S. embassy in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, for our shared collaboration and partnership in addressing Mongolia’s greylisting, advocating for the Third Neighbor Trade Act and other initiatives.
Ambassador Klecheski opened his speech by applauding AmCham Mongolia, and he said, “I’m pleased to say that AmCham too has forged ahead even in the face of the pandemic. Congratulations to AmCham on a good menu of virtual programming, a brisk pace of information-sharing, and the establishment of two new committees right amid coronavirus. ICT and the digital economy are pivotal, so this new committee is an important addition to AmCham’s organizational structure. I’ve always felt the corporate social responsibility that American firms display deserves to be highlighted and built on as much as possible, so I welcome the creation of the new CSR committee.”
H.E. Michael S. Klecheski then highlighted that the bilateral relations between the two countries continue to grow thanks to efforts like the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) ‘s 350 million USD grant project addressing Mongolia’s water challenges in the capital city. The U.S. government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has provided 1.5 million USD to U.N. agencies to help Mongolia address the COVID-19 global pandemic. USAID has also launched a five-year Business Excellence for Sustainability and Transparency (BEST) project worth 15 million USD to help grow and diversify Mongolia’s economy by supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and improving economic governance and accountability.
In regards to the bilateral economic ties, U.S. exports to Mongolia reached the highest in the last five years, increasing 60% from the previous year to 193 million USD. Mongolian exports to the U.S. has also grown to 25 million USD in 2019 compared to 10 million USD the year before. The Government of the United States, through the U.S. Embassy in Ulaanbaatar, consider helping Mongolia to be more self-sustaining and economically sovereign to be a priority, which is why spreading the word about the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) to assist in Mongolian cashmere exports to the U.S. is essential.
Furthermore, the U.S. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) increased to 788 million USD in 2020, a 90% increase from 2 years ago, making the U.S. the 4th largest FDI in Mongolia. Our top priority is an implementation of the Transparency Agreement, and we are working on streamlining legalinfo.mn to include a function of public commenting. And lastly, for us, banking sector reform means well-capitalized and healthy banks, fully enforced anti-money laundering efforts, which is a precondition for extension of IMF program.
Following the Ambassador’s speech, the U.S. embassy representatives took part in a Q&A session and answered the virtual audience’s questions.
About AmCham Mongolia
AmCham Mongolia is an independent, membership-driven organization seeking to build, strengthen, and protect business between the United States and Mongolia and actively promote Mongolia as a destination for American investment. AmCham Mongolia is the official local affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the largest business federation globally with over 3 million member companies. AmCham Mongolia is also a member of the Asia-Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce, consisting of 29 American Chambers of Commerce in the Asia-Pacific region.